Google Groups
Join To Get Blog Update Notices
Visit the Hickory Hound Group

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of September 7, 2010

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 9/7/2010 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below

Invocation by Cindy Jordan, Spiritual Advisor Formerly of Catawba Valley Medical Center

Consent Agenda:
A. Proclamation Declaring the Week of September 12 - 18, 2010 as “National Assisted Living Week” in the City of Hickory

B. Approve Airport Concession Agreement With Teresa Rozzelle to Operate Restaurant Located in the Hickory Regional Airport Terminal Building - Teresa Rozzelle desires to locate Wingo’s at the Hickory Regional Airport Terminal Building; previously occupied by Froggy Pete’s CafĂ©. Said tenant will pay the City 6% of gross proceeds in excess of $30,000 annually and the lease will be for a term of three (3) years. With no commercial airline service currently at the airport, the commercial ramp outside the terminal can be used by private aircraft to access the restaurant. No significant changes have been made to the lease from the last three (3) tenants occupying this space. The tenant agrees to have the restaurant open during normal breakfast and lunch hours five (5) days a week. Two readings are being requested during the September 7, 2010 meeting so as to reopen the restaurant in a timely manner for the aviation community.

C. Approve Dedication of Right of Way to the NC Department of Transportation for Driveway Permit Located at the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant - Said dedication of right of way is requested in association with the construction of the new Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant project, located at 310 Cloninger Mill Road. This will allow for the required new driveway permit. The existing driveway will be eliminated due to the new plant site layout. There is no cost or revenue associated with this dedication.

D. Approve Resolution and Interlocal Agreement in Support of Western Piedmont Council of government’s Acquisition of Real Property to Construct Office Facility and Secure Financing - The Western Piedmont Council of Government’s (WPCOG) Policy Board recently approved the Interlocal Agreement and gave authorization to receive approval from their member local governments so as to purchase real property and secure financing. Said agreement is intended to demonstrate to the NC Local Government Commission that WPCOG is a stable organization, capable of repaying the financing being requested from the US Department of Agriculture. This is not intended to be a legally binding commitment by local governments, but simply a statement of intent which collectively provides the Local Government Commission the needed assurances.

E. Approve Resolution Honoring Our Local Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Military Personnel to be Presented on September 11, 2010 at Lenoir-Rhyne University

F. Request From Hickory Downtown Development Association for Use of Union Square for 2010 Oktoberfest on October 8 – 10, 2010 from 7 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

G. Acceptance of 2010 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the Amount of $43,366 to Purchase Various Police Equipment - The City of Hickory and Catawba County have received notification of approval to receive a combined allocation of $57,921 under the 2010 JAG Program, which utilizes Uniform Crime Reporting statistics of all law enforcement agencies to determine eligibility for direct federal grant awards. Catawba County is eligible for a $14,555 grant and the City of Hickory is eligible for $43,366 with no match required. The City of Hickory has agreed to serve as lead agency in the grant application process. The grant funds will be used for a polygraph activity sensor seat, Crime Zone software, replacement camera and laptop computers, digital cameras, protective earmuffs, Lidar speed detection, Universal Forensic Extraction device and replacement treadmills.

H. Award Bid to Armstrong Ford in the Amount of $145,306 to Purchase Seven (7) Police Replacement Vehicles - Hickory Police Department requests approval to award bid to Armstrong Ford for the purchase of seven (7) 2011 Ford Crown Victoria specialized police package emergency vehicles in the amount of $145,306. These are rear wheel drive vehicles at a cost of $20,758 each. It has been determined that the Ford Crown Victoria best suits the needs of the department in order to operate the large number of electrical devices contained in the police vehicles. Armstrong Ford was the only company to submit a bid by closing date. Funds are budgeted for this item.

I. Approval to Award a Community Appearance Grant to Rick & Judy Greenhill for Property Located at 561 11th Street, NW in the Amount of $5,000 - The subject property is owned by Rick & Judy Greenhill who desire to improve the general appearance of their property by renovating and/or installing new roofing, exterior paint, gutters, lighting, doors and other related items to the structure. The cost of said improvements is estimated to be between $15,926.20 and $16,608. On August 23, 2010 the Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted to recommend grant funding in the amount of $5,000.

J. Approval to Award a Community Appearance Grant to Gavin Mitchell for Property Located at 15 2nd Avenue, NW in the Amount of $5,000 - The subject property is owned by Gavin Mitchell who desires to improve the general appearance of his property by replacing 30 windows and installing new vinyl siding to the structure. The cost of said improvements is estimated to be between $16,650 and $16,781. On August 23, 2010 the Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted to recommend grant funding in the amount of $5,000.

K. Approval of the FY 2009 – 2010 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) - The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development requires the City, as a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement funding recipient, to report on CDBG monies spent within the previous fiscal year. This report evaluates the effectiveness of the use of resources in addressing identified goals and objectives cited in the Annual Action Plan, which is prepared before the fiscal year begins.

L. Approve Vacant Building Revitalization Grant “Operation No Vacancy” to Maximum Investments, Inc. for Property Located at 1545 Hwy 70, SW in the Amount of $25,000 - The Vacant Building Revitalization Grant Program was established by City Council in September, 2008 whereby the program provides matching funds up to $25,000 for projects seeking to renovate and rehabilitate vacant buildings and the demolition of substandard buildings. Maximum Investments, Inc. has applied for such a grant in the amount of $25,000 to assist in the renovation of the building by repaving the parking lot, replacement of the roof, painting the exterior while replacing and adding windows. The applicant’s total investment is estimated to be $57,400 and the renovation is planned to be used for a real estate and property management company along with a car dealership. The Redevelopment Committee reviewed the application and voted to recommend approval of $25,000.

M. Award Bid to Neill Grading & Construction For Construction of Green Park Subdivision Along 5th Avenue, SW in the Amount of $272,000. - Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley purchased 4.68 acres from the City of Hickory for an affordable housing subdivision along 5th Avenue, SW; Green Park Subdivision. The City is to install roadway, sewer, water, curb, gutter and sidewalks for said subdivision. Eleven (11) homes will be constructed at this site, ranging in size from 1100 to 1400 sq. ft. valued at approximately $112,000.. The bid process was advertised on July 27 and August 10, 2010. Five (5) bids were received with Neill Grading and Construction Co., Inc. coming in as the low bidder at $272,200.

N. Amend the Traffic Ordinance by Reducing the Speed Limit From 35 mph to 25 mph Along 7th Ave, NE From the Intersection With 3rd St, NE East Approximately 1,670 Feet to the Intersection With 5th Ave Pl, NE, 4th St, NE From the Intersection With 7th Ave, NE North Approximately 660 Feet to the Intersection With 8th Ave, NE and 4th St, NE From the Intersection With 7th Ave, NE South Approximately 640 Feet to the Dead End - Under the City’s Traffic Calming Program an application was received for a speed limit reduction along 7th Ave, NE as indicated above and primarily serving the Combford Park residential area. Staff determined that a speed limit reduction from 35 mph to 25 mph would be acceptable, if the residents desired. The petition packages were received and were determined by Staff to be valid and met the 75% signature requirement.

O. Approve Piggyback Purchase of Cab, Chassis and Refuse Body by Resolutions From Southern Truck Service in the Amount of $124,167 and From Carolina Environmental Services in the Amount of $56,600 - Adoption of these Resolutions will allow the City of Hickory to piggyback purchase a cab, chassis and rear loading refuse body from a prior Town of Cary bid award pursuant to NC General Statute 143-129. The units purchased by the Town of Cary are the same specifications desired by Hickory Solid Waste Division. This in turn will save the City time in not having to go through the bid process. Southern Truck Service has agreed to a price decrease from the Town of Cary due to year-end incentives for the cab and chassis in the amount of $124,167. The refuse body will be purchased from Carolina Environmental Services in the amount of $56,600 for a grand total of $180,767. Funds are budgeted in the FY 2010-11 Solid Waste Budget.

P. Accept Grant from Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA) to Upgrade Recycling Convenience Center in the Amount of $11,119 - Acceptance of this grant from the DPPEA would allow the replacement of front loader dumpsters used to collect recyclables with hook lift dumpsters located at 1060 1st Avenue, SW, which is the City’s Transfer Station site. Replacement would cut the number of dumpsters to three (3) and still provide the same recycling options, while reducing the number of trips made to the GDS MRF and saving approximately $5,887.44 per year in fuel and labor. The City’s portion of said grant would be $2,224.

Q. Approve Contract With North Star Destination Strategies for Branding and Marketing Project in the Amount of $88,000 - The Business Development Committee recommended and City Council approved entering into a contract with North Star Destination Strategies to develop a comprehensive branding and marketing campaign for the City of Hickory. City Council will have final acceptance authority of the work performed and will be engaged periodically throughout the project for feedback. The project will focus on five (5) key elements to achieve the City’s objective through demographic data, marketing data, competitor data and interviews. The project will also include development of new logos for the CVB and EDC which will compliment the City of Hickory’s new logo. Both entities will contribute to the cost of the contract. Due to time constraints, staff is requesting two readings be held on September 7, 2010. A budget amendment is required.

R. Approval to Issue Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Lenoir-Rhyne University for Saturday, October 9, 2010 - Lenoir-Rhyne University requests permission to hold a public fireworks display to be presented by Pyro Shows Incorporated on Saturday, October 9, 2010 following the homecoming football game. The Fire Prevention Bureau has reviewed all required documentation and will inspect the display area prior to the event to ensure compliance with all guidelines.

S. Request From Spiritual Counseling Network for Use of Union Square for Spirit Fest 2010 on September 18, 2010 from 9 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

T. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 4
1. To budget a $100 memorial donation in the Library Books line item for Ridgeview Library.
2. To budget a total of $400 of the Airports multi-purpose room rental Sales and Services Revenue in the Airport Department Supplies line item.
3. To appropriate $7,500 of General Fund Balance Appropriated and budget in the Administration Contracted Services line item. This appropriation is to pay Catawba County Chamber of Commerce $7,500 for the Portal Website Development.
4. To appropriate $88,000 of General Fund Balance Appropriated and budget in the Economic and Community Development Other Miscellaneous Expenditure line item. This appropriation is to pay North Star Destination Strategies, as recommended by the Business Development Committee (BDC), to develop a comprehensive branding and marketing campaign for the City of Hickory. The project will focus on the City seeking to grow its population through recruiting active adults, professionals and ntrepreneurs.
5. To re-appropriate $12,069 of General Fund Balance Appropriated and budget in the Parks and Recreation Maintenance and Repair of Grounds line item. These funds are for the Hilton Gazebo project; however funds rolled into Fund Balance at the end of FY2010 and need to be re-appropriated for the new fiscal year.
6. To budget a $1,092 insurance claim check from Trident Insurance Company in the Parks and Recreation Maintenance and Grounds line item. This insurance claim is for lightening damage to the Henry Fork Park gate on 07-17-10.
7. To budget $1,818 of Local Government Revenue in the Police Department Overtime line item. This revenue is payment from Catawba County Mental Health for a portion of an Officers time spent when accompanying involuntary commitment patients.
8. To budget a $3,381 insurance claim check from GMAC Insurance Company in the Police Department Maintenance and Repair of Vehicle line item. This insurance claim is for damage to Police vehicle on 08-21-10.
9. To accept and budget a $29,578 materials reimbursement check from the Bethlehem Water District in the Water Lines account code. This reimbursement is for the payment of waterline materials used for the Teaguetown Rd Waterline Extension Project. The City of Hickory has completed the engineering design,
obtained permitting, and will perform the construction.
10. To increase the Transfer to Multi-Year Grant for the Brownfield Grant project by $156 and decrease the Economic and Community Development Department Supplies line item by $156. The Brownfield Grant does not cover food expenditures; therefore an amendment is necessary to cover the cost.

New Business - Public Hearings:

Proposed Ordinance Designating Hickory Station as a Local Landmark by Recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission - OHB Properties, LLC purchased Hickory Station, located at 232 Government Avenue, SW, from the City of Hickory in 2007 for a proposed restaurant. A deed restriction was placed on the purchase stating that the property was to be treated as a local historic landmark and all exterior changes would require a Certificate of Appropriateness to be issued by the Historic Preservation Commission, pursuant to Exhibit B, Section 3.f.2 of the Economic Development Agreement approved by City Council on August 7, 2007. Formally designating the property will help ensure the property owner’s due process rights and assist staff in administering the deed restriction in addition to allowing a 50% property tax deferral for the property owner pursuant to NC General Statute. On August 24, 2010 the Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed Ordinance.

Dave Leonetti made the presentation. The building was constructed in 1912. It was the third building constructed for rail and the second devoted to passenger rail service. It was in operation until approximately 1970. The city purchased the building in 1972 and it was renovated for use as a restaurant in 1977. The building has been vacant since 2005. Their is a deed restriction on the building that states that the owners must receive permission to make any exterior changes to the building. The building fits the historical criteria, because it is associated with events that have contributed to the city’s history.

Alderman Seaver asked if there have been any further discussions about rail service? City Manager Berry stated that a group within NCDOT that works on passenger rail. There has been planning done for a passenger rail line from Salisbury to Asheville. He stated that it would be more of a touristy type of thing as opposed to commuter rail and that it would be very expensive. He stated that the people at DOT think that it will never happen. Alderman Seaver stated that he had seen where President Obama wants to build 4,000 miles of railroad as part of a nationwide infrastructure fix. He stated that at one time we were actively involved in having a stop there (at the old depot). Are we still going to try to use it? Manager Berry stated that in the deed restrictions that if passenger rail ever does materialize in Hickory that the owners (of the depot) have to make accommodations for the rail depot. Manager berry stated that that is not in the foreseeable future.

Alder Fox stated that the challenge 9is not with the owner. She stated that the challenge is to get our name back up in sight. Alderman Meisner stated that right now we are number 2 in the county – Conover. Manager Berry stated yeah, the state has these convoluted criteria for how they choose where stops will be and it has become a political process, if you will. He stated that the State would have to make concessions between Conover and Hickory and we have pushed it about as far as you can push it. He further stated that in talks with the COO Jim Trogdon of the DOT, that funding would not be coming down for that ever. Council Unanimously Consented.

The Hound certainly hopes that this will kickstart whatever the plans are for the Station. The place has been empty for way too long and I believe that it is a focal point of Downtown. As I have heard from Mrs. Fox before, we need to worry about the appearance of our entry points in the city. I will carry that thought process a step further. We need to worry about the appearance of our Historical Heritage Landmarks in our City. That building standing empty is a metaphor and representation of business and economic activity downtown. It always has been.

As far as Manager Berry's assertions involving possible passenger rail in this area. That boat done sailed!

What we see here is the total lack of vision that is Hickory. Always looking at the reason why we couldn't, shouldn't, and wouldn't do something. Any opportunity to ever get passenger rail -- part of our heritage -- back in Hickory has been p-tossed away. And I saw the angst in the body language from Mr. Seaver, Mrs. Fox, and Mr. Meisner when they discussed this issue.

Conover has the vision. everyone sees what they are doing at the old Broyhill plant. That is strategic proactive planning. Not some defeatist-defensive mindset. That is the Can-Do spirit that Hickory better get back to, if it wants to ever get out of this quagmire of malaise that we have been rolling in over the last decade.

I think the majority of people in Hickory want to see some form of rail come back. Vision = Dream. I don't agree with anyone who says that it will never happen. I can't believe anyone says never about anything. You always need to have contingencies. I believe it most certainly will happen. Not today or tomorrow, but in the next 20 to 50 years it will definitely happen and that all depends on where we head with fossil fuels and the automobile. It is about the necessity of a transportation network and the current system is unsustainable.

I have also been told that the Asheville to Salisbury route is supposed to connect people to Amtrak. Saying that it is touristy is like saying that airplane flights are touristy. That may be a component, but to infer that it wouldn't have any relation to commuting is ridiculous. And the airline industry isn't fairing so well these days, is it? It isn't only the elasticity of the cost of fuel, but it is also about population growth and the maintenance of roads and vehicles in relation to individual personal income. People want convenience and independence when it comes to travel, but there are aspects of rail travel that incorporate those ideals also. Is it convenient to drive a car to Atlanta or Washington and then have to arrange to park it everywhere you go? What about the time and cost factor involved in that?

It is more than obvious that we have governance so attached to personal feelings that they are not looking at the trends that surround them. It isn't about what we want to impose as individuals. It is about the evolution of the collective culture and our relationship as individuals to that collective culture. And that does not mean giving up ones individual rights. It means enhancing and empowering ones individual being. As long as we are striving for excellence, then we will move closer to that goal, but if we choose to strive towards the Least Common Denominator, then we will eventually get to the Least Common Denominator, which is nothing.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Second Reading - Approve Airport Concession Agreement With Teresa Rozzelle to Operate Restaurant Located in the Hickory Regional Airport Terminal Building. - Two readings are being requested during the September 7, 2010 meeting so as to reopen the restaurant in a timely manner for the aviation community. Council Unanimously Consented.

2. Second Reading - Award Bid to Neill Grading & Construction For Construction of Green Park Subdivision Along 5th Avenue, SW in the Amount of $272,000 - Two readings are being requested to be held on September 7, 2010 to allow construction to be completed prior to any possible winter weather delays. Council Unanimously Consented.

3. Second Reading - Approve Contract With North Star Destination Strategies for Branding and Marketing Project in the Amount of $88,000 Due to time constraints, staff is requesting two readings be held on September 7, 2010. Council Unanimously Consented.

4. Authorize the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Submission of EDA Grant Application on Behalf of the City of Hickory for Construction of Parking Deck at the Greater Hickory Metro Convention Center in the Amount of $1 Million - On August 4, 2009 the City adopted Resolution No. 09-25 enacting an additional 1% occupancy tax to become effective October 1, 2009. Said occupancy tax increase was sought to create funding for a parking deck at the convention center. Due to expansion in 2005 the convention center became capable of handling larger and more concurrent events. Temporary parking was established but a parking deck was determined to be necessary long term. The estimated cost of the parking deck is $4.3 million and would be constructed to look like an extension of the existing facility. The $1 million EDA grant is critical to the convention centers ability to fund the parking deck and create private sector jobs and investment. The $3.3 million balance would be borrowed by the City as the owner of the convention center and repaid by the occupancy tax, being completely independent of general City tax revenues.

Bebe Leitch, President of the Tourism and Development Authority made the presentation. The convention center is completely self-supportive. She stated that they are excited about their location and they are a great corridor for people and business to pass through. She showed the original facility which in the year 2000 had 44,000 square feet of space. In 2005 the Center was expanded by 25,000 square feet. In 2006 additional parking space was added. There have been several businesses which have located in the area surrounding the convention center including Carmax, Harley-Davidson, Restaurants, and hotels.

The reason why they need a parking deck is because there is no space available for parking expansion. There are 42 events currently held that do not have adequate parking. They are turning away events and cannot do multiple events. There are limitations that can be eliminated. She showed pictures of the proposed parking deck. This will afford a nice entrance and open area. This will allow easy access and availability to walk in the front door. The facilty will look like a structure with windows. She stated that this will be an icon for Hickory. It will provide a WOW effect. This will allow an increase of 327 spaces from the present 700. She feels that the niche market for this area is 400 to 600. This will give the opportunity to recruit more events and multiple events. Currently there are 700 hotel rooms located around the Convention Center. There are a total of around 1,900 in Hickory and Conover.

The TDA is not authorized to take out a loan. The City of Hickory takes out the loan and the TDA repays the loan on a monthly basis.The debt on the original structure will be paid off by 2019. The debt on this loan will be repaid by utilizing the monies collected from the increased occupancy tax and increased event revenues She also stated that if they do not get the grant, then they will step back on the size of the parking deck Alder patton asked about the timeframe of the grant. Mrs. Leitch stated that they would like to submit it at the end of October- beginning of November and then they would have 2 years to spend the money..

The Hound can only say good things about what I have seen from Mrs. Leitch and the direction of the TVA. we definitely need to try to expand our interests in the Tourism and Convention business sprectrum. It is obvious that there is not enough parking space for all of the activity taking place in that area and since it will essentially pay for itself, it is a no-brainer. You have to admire the vision of Mrs. Leitch and the people invoilved with the TVA. Look at what has taken place in that area from its inception up until now. If we could have growth in the rest of Hickory like we have seen under Mrs. Leitch's direction, then we would have no issues with our local economy.

5. Call for Public Hearing to Consider the Adoption of Ordinance Authorizing a Moratorium on New Electronic Sweepstakes Establishments in the Zoning Jurisdiction of the City of Hickory (Authorize Public Hearing for September 21, 2010)This issue has been discussed several times over the last year. This Moratorium will last for 90 days. During this time no new establishments will be allowed to open and this will give the city time to tweak the ordinance. A revised ordinance will be submitted to Council through the Planning Commission during this time. This is a contingency in case the legislation is not allowed to be administered on December 1st. This ordinance will address the issue and would fill the void if the law is not allowed to stand. If this action is not taken, then there could be a gap between December 1st and the time any ordinance action could be passed. Council Unanimously Consented.

6. Review and Consider Adoption of Proposed Ethics Code Required by North Carolina General Statute - North Carolina Legislature passed NC General Statute § 160A-86 requiring all North Carolina cities, counties, local boards of education, sanitary districts, unified governments and consolidated city-counties to adopt a resolution or policy containing a code of ethics, to be adopted by January 1, 2011. The Ethics Code must address five (5) areas:
The need to obey all applicable laws regarding official actions taken as a board member.
The need to uphold the integrity and independence of the board member’s office.
The need to avoid impropriety in the exercise of the board member’s official duties.
The need to faithfully perform the duties of the office.
The need to conduct the affairs of the governing board in an open and public manner.
The proposed code also incorporates the existing Conflict of Interests Policy previously approved by City Council. Staff Attorney Arnita Dula addressed the council on this issue. Council Unanimously Consented

RENTAL PROPERTY TASK FORCE - (Terms expire December 6, 2010)
Objective: Recommend approaches to City Council which will assist rental property owners in knowing and responding to illegal and nuisance behaviors being perpetrated by tenants. Recommend approaches to assist neighbors of rental property in reporting problems and understanding the City and rental owners’ response to concerns. Recommendations should be as simple and straightforward as possible and take into consideration impact on city staff and property owners, and the rights of citizens who rent property. This objective is to be completed in 90 days and will be assisted by City staff and the analysis of
crime and nuisance data. Council announced the people who will fill these positions.

Recognition of Persons Requesting To Be Heard - Jim Davis and Larry Pope readdressed the Ridgeview and Ivey Weaver Pools Issue
Citizens Of Ridgeview address the City Council about the City Pools Issue

Footcandle Film Society - screening Thursday night (9/9/2010) - "Please Give" - 7pm, Carolina Theater, Downtown Hickory. A well-reviewed film followed by and optional discussion. $5 at the door or free to current society members. All are welcome - spread the word!

No comments: